Scarborough transit users are torn on the province’s recently announced subway extension plan.
On one hand, improved transit of any sort would be a welcome thing, but on the other, the proposed two-stop subway extension to Scarborough City Centre might not be enough.
“The Scarborough transit system sucks,” said Bryan Haley, who lives downtown but commutes to Scarborough once or twice a week for work or social gatherings.
According to a Sept. 4 press release, Ontario proposed a 6.4-kilometre extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway from Kennedy Station.
“We are committing $1.4 billion to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line all the way to the Scarborough City Centre to make it easier for residents to travel, improve quality of life, generate jobs and bring investment to the area,” Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray said in the release.
The planned extension — which would replace the aging Scarborough RT and its five stops — would be a step forward for Scarborough, Haley said.
“Buses are too packed,” he said. “It takes a long time to get around. It’s kind of like being in a remote area.”
University of Toronto Scarborough student Ibiyemi Balogun agreed.
“[The] subway is just direct and fast. It’s quick,” she said. “If I could always take the subway, I would do it.”
But some commuters worry the planned subway extension would come up short.
The new subway line is something that Scarborough needs but the plan should incorporate more stops, four-year Scarborough resident Shanthi Bojadla said.
“Right now we have three [stations], and I’m thinking how it’s going to be helping people in Scarborough,” she said. “The people who are taking Ellesmere station now, what are they going to do? … We have to make some more stations.”
The ideal subway extension would include a line that ends at the Toronto Zoo or at least Sheppard Avenue, Bojadla said.
“That was the better [plan] because you can go around the city wherever you want on the subway,” Bojadla said.
Brett Muamba agreed. The York University, who takes Scarborough transit to get to school, said he is more concerned about the lost transit stops than the overall extension.
“It’s just the people who have to get off at Midland, it’s going to suck for them,” Muamba said.
Scarborough would benefit more if the city worked together with the province when it comes to funding, Bojadla said.
“I totally agree with the province,” she said. “They are supporting the subway. They are not asking money from Toronto.
“(Toronto Mayor Rob) Ford, what he said was that he was going to raise the taxes. Without that, the province is helping us build it.”
Bojadla believes that Scarborough, and Toronto in general, is ready for this new subway line.
“The population is growing and the city is growing this way too,” she said.